Back to Content

Steve Alton — A Residency

‘Focused daylight casts my room in deep shadow, my coffee is brewing on the stove.’

A Residency — A framework for a day of an artist. By Steve Alton.



The Royal Docks, Newham, London



A proposal for a new international artist residency that creates a live/work environment for 100 artists.



The scheme addresses the risk of post-Brexit cultural decline through the provision of a new infrastructure for cultural creation. The residency will piggyback its participants onto the STEM visa fast-track system.



The spaces are choreographed to mirror monastic living, with a clear separation between life and work. The stillness of the architecture foregrounds the life and expression of the artists. Messy living does not demand messy architecture; and the clarity of the architectural framework for the residency counters the confusion of the creative process.



A Residency represents a much needed model for artist space in the capital, whose poise and quiet is a response and celebration of the convivial confusion of creation.

Two tower blocks jut out into the water of the Albert Dock, oriented to true North. The blocks are connected by four pavilions, bisected by a single central colonnade.
A Framework; General arrangement plans.
On arrival, the resident is handed A Schedule. It is designed to allow people to make a clear separation between live / work—It is to organize and represent the life of an artist so anyone, from anywhere in the world, can come here and live like an artist for a day.



London Clay is a plentiful and sustainable medium for the production of paint, sculpting and other artists’ media. The Residency will provide the infrastructure for the resident artists to create and experiment with this vernacular media; A site-specific factory for art. (Image credit: Peter Ward).
‘I’m walking to the shower. Rhythmically, windows reveal matching openings across the courtyard, with suggestions of like-minded routines within.’
‘Collectively we gather, chaos fills the breakfast canteen, segmented by strict columns and highlighted from above, conversations inspire ahead of the day.’
‘The building guides me, an intimate space protects me while I change into my work clothes.’
‘Moving away from my living space, a colonnade leads me.’
‘I stand on a terrace, overlooking the clay pit⁠. I dig for my clay’
‘The ground below is stained with dust as I mix the clay, pigments fall between the gridded floor.’
“Wrapped by concrete and the square windows of our studios. I enter the work space and collect my things.”
“Once in my studio, the ruin of Silo D is my muse, this warped perception becomes my inspiration, the studio acting as a framework for my mess.”
A Residency: A framework for a day of an artist.

Section model






Further work


Contact details